Transforming to Top notch civil service

Many people expressed their disdain towards civil service in the country saying how bloated it is, its slow pace, its uselessness, etc. Being a civil servant, I found that majority of the civil servants are willing to change their working ways provided they were given the flexibility to act. As it is, the rules and procedure for them to follow is so voluminous that many stumbled, fumbled, and muddled their way through. Take finance for instance, all funds disbursed to departments are strictly pre-divided according to certain headings called “objects”. Monies allocated to certain object cannot simply be used for other object even though there is a surplus. Let me cite a simple case in my office, we  have some money for “service” and no more money for ” maintenance”. We cannot simply divert the money from service to shore up maintenance work without prior permission from the central controlling officer. Being a huge ministry with more than forty separate divisions and thousands of staff, getting permission from the controlling officer would probably take a week at the earliest! Now, let say we save money in procuring some ICT equipment, we cannot use the excess funds to procure other equipment or extra things without permission from central controlling officer. Imagine you are given permission to buy 10 computers with a certain amount of money with certain specifications. If you manage to procure the 10 computers at a price lower than the amount given, again, you cannot use the saving to buy more computers or any other things without permission. Even if you get to buy a better  spec computer at lower price, it is not allowed, unless you get clearance. It may sound inefficient but that’s the environment that we operate in. We do understand all these procedures were built in to prevent abuses and frauds by some rouges officers. So we all suffer because of some unscruplous people. A real catch-22 situation. one one hand we need all the flexibility to move fast, on the other the flexibility tend to get abused.

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